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Legendary Flower Blooms on NIS Building

By Jung Sung-ki, The Korea Times Staff Reporter, Oct 27, 2004

Seoul, South Korea -- Amid a deepening national divide over some political issues, a mystery of an auspicious flower, the "Udambara," now in bloom on the state?s intelligence agency buildings, is drawing particular attention.

The Udambara is a rare species of lotus no bigger than the tip of a ball-point pen with nine and seven stalks and is regarded by Buddhists as a noteworthy omen whenever it blooms. According to Buddhist literature, the legendary flower blooms once in 3,000 years. Religious Indians say the blooming takes place when the Saga King of the Future comes to the world.

According to the National Intelligence Service, the tiny white flowers were found last September on the side of windows of the fifth and seventh floors of an agency building. The divine plant was also found a few days later among flowering plants near the official residence of the head of the NIS.

This is the first occurrence of the Udambara in average places, not in temples. In 2002, the sacred flowers were discovered on the shining glided statue of the Buddhist deity in a temple in the suburb of Seoul. At that time, some even tried to talk of its association with then President Kim Dae-jung?s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize a week earlier.

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